Ranaivo Jean Noelson: meeting community needs

IFAD Asset Request Portlet

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Ranaivo Jean Noelson: meeting community needs

Ranaivo Jean Noelson, aged 23 and a father of three, lives in Tanandava, in Androy, southern Madagascar. He is a fisherman and also owns and farms some land.

He describes a typical day's activities: "We'll go, at the crowing of the cock…I leave my wife there, and go out fishing, we go paddling, paddling…" When he returns, Ranaivo explains, "my wife…will now sell those fish, while I clean up the canoe we used, sweeping it out, and we go home together…she begins to cook while I go to the field to cultivate. Returning from there we'll spend the afternoon together at my mother's place, visiting until the evening."

Ranaivo owns some chickens and two sheep. He talks about the importance of gradually acquiring more livestock as security for times of need. His advice is: "…as soon as it rains, don't loiter but plant, and [with] what you reap purchase cattle; and if you can't afford an ox immediately purchase a chicken first, until your livelihood is raised, so when you have many chickens buy a sheep..." Three or more sheep will buy an ox, he says.

Ranaivo is a member of the recently formed Dune Association, which is planting trees to tackle the serious problem of sand dunes invading farmland. He is keen to promote cooperative farming: "What I'd like to do to improve this village where I live is…communal work," he explains. "…We'd acquire land for a large field that could be [worked] cooperatively, then any harvest from that…field would go into a cash account, and we'd [use] that as seed money to get more work for the future."

He has several other ideas about how to meet the community's needs, some of them requiring external support. "If I were the director, given that raketa-mena (red prickly pear) are becoming thick here, I'd suggest we clean that out first. I'd also ask for a clinic, for we are far from any clinic," he says. He also advocates setting up an association of fishermen, observing that "there'd be money in that…We'd ask for a net, we'd ask for [diving] masks, we'd ask for fishing lines: that's what I'd request for our association," he says.

Respect for elders and community support come through as important values in Ranaivo's interview. He talks about his grandfather as his role model, "for he's old and has seen all the successful ways of our forefathers…" When asked what a very poor person would do if they had nothing to sell in order to take their child to the doctor, he says they could go to someone with plenty of livestock and that person would "have compassion on this one and give her [them] a sheep to sell…to save [their] sick one". The loan would be repaid when the poor person had worked and saved enough. "We trust each other because we are all one," Ranaivo says.